Crest of a New Cape Wave

POSTED ON 02/01/2016

In Wine, Women and Good Hope: a history of scandalous behaviour in the Cape, June McKinnon tells the salacious history of Cape Town. Was it 36 of their descendants then who came over to seduce us at such a mouthwateringly salacious New Wave South Africa tasting? The thrill and energy of the wines summed up what the growers justifiably called a ‘tangible sense of camaraderie, talent, youth and openness’.

With old bush vine strength in depth, white blends based on chenin blanc have become the Cape’s dry white calling card. Among the best, I would include Adi Badenhorst’s complex, rich and honeyed 2012 Family White Blend, £24.50, Swig, Philglas & Swiggot, Handford, along with Mullineux’ grapefuity, saline dry 2013 Swartland White, £17.95, Berry Bros., and Donovan Rall’s intense peach and apple flavoured, mineral dry 2014 Rall White, £23 – 26, Connolly’s, HangingDitch, Hedonism. Also in the running: Thorne & Daughters expressively rich and yet moreishly zesty 2014 Rocking Horse white, £22.25, Lay & Wheeler, and Chris and Suzann Alheit’s mesmerising apple and quince-rich 2014 Cartology, £28 - £31.30, Swig, Berry Bros., Hedonism.

Chenin blanc is not the only white fruit and dynamism abounds in the success of sauvignon-based whites such as Duncan Savage’s beautifully zingy-fresh, graves-like 2014 Savage White, 27.50, Swig, Berry Bros, Handford, Philglas & Swiggot, and Reyneke’s textured, subtly smoky rich 2014 Reserve White, around £22, Lay & Wheeler, The Vineking, and the restrained yet concentrated, mineral 2014 Lismore Barrel Fermented Sauvignon Blanc, £14.05 – Corking Wines,

Successful innovation with new grape varieties is making itsmark too. Blank Bottle’s wacky Peter Walser makes 27 varietals including, from the Portuguese fernão pires, the extraordinary tropical fruit-laden 2014 Kortpad-kapptoe, £21, Swig, Bottle Apostle, Harvey Nichols, while Marc Kent produces a seamless graves-like pure 2013 Boekenhoutskloof Semillon, £26.50, Swig, and Lismore a fabulously peachy 2014 Viognier, £16.34, Strictly Wine. Jeanine and Mick Craven make a superbly expressive and zesty-fresh 2014 Clairette Blanche, around £18.49, Handford, Philglas & Swiggot, and The Foundry a mouthwateringly dry 2013 Roussanne, £11.50, The Wine Society. For more on the fine new wave Cape chardonnays and reds, watch this space.

Something for the Weekend 2 January 2016

Night In

2012 Château Recougne, Bordeaux Supérieur

This is a surprisingly credible and authentic claret whose three-quarters of merlot make the right sweetly juicily blackcurrant noises against a background of fragrant vanilla and a refreshingly balanced bite on the finish. £10.49, or £6.99, multibuy price, Majestic Wine.

Dinner Party

2014 Sainsbury's Taste the Difference Coolwater Bay Marlborough Pinot Noir

A fine Kiwi pinot noir, especially at the price, for its come-hither raspberryish perfume and a delicate ripe sour cherry and raspberryish succulence subtly framed and rounded by spicy oak and lively freshnesss. £10, Sainsbury's.

Splash Out

2007 Domaine Coursodon Saint-Joseph Cuvée Olivaie

A mouthwatering St Joseph, the equal of Côte Rôtie in this intense expression of syrah , showing raspberry and blackberry fruits imbued with classic northern Rhône black olive, pepper and spiciness, finishing firm and savoury. £35, Marks & Spencer.

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